Disney College Program

Before Week One

Disney College Program

Last semester I applied to the Disney College Program. And, luck would have it, I got in! I will be spending six months in the happiest place on Earth, working, learning, and growing as a leader. I could not be more ecstatic about my upcoming journey! However, getting this far hasn’t been all pixie dust and rainbows. The University of New England, despite being excited for my acceptance, made things difficult to say the least.

My advisor Bethany Fortier, was the most supportive person about my decision to go to Disney. Every step of the way she, and the other Health Wellness and Occupational Studies advisors, were willing to stand by me and respect my dream. At first the school told me to talk to the Global department about the Disney College Program (DCP). But, when I went to Global, they told me that because I was not going abroad, in the out-of-country sense, they would not help me.

I was, however, strongly encouraged to go to Morocco.

When that was a bust, my advisor and I went back to the drawing board. The cool thing about the DCP is that one can take classes during their time in the program, and even earn college credits. But UNE, not having the paperwork for the credits to transfer, told me that the classes offered by Disney would not count. I can let this slide because I am the first student at UNE to ask to earn college credit while doing the program. If you are thinking about doing this program, talk to your advisor now and request the paperwork to be completed! It takes about a year, so the sooner you plan ahead, the better.

If I could not take classes, then I would not be graduating in the Spring of 2019. Unacceptable.

This obstacle led me to the decision to take online classes for the twelve elective credits I need for the Spring 2018 semester. I always knew I wanted to do something my junior year, and I am very grateful my advisor helped me set up my past semesters accordingly to allow me to go somewhere special.

Even with the brilliant online classes idea, the school still put up a fight. Due to the fact that I need to take a leave of absence to go to Disney (because it is not going technically abroad), I would not be allowed to work on college credit classes during the semester I would be gone for. All in all meaning, the school was upset I wouldn’t be paying several thousand dollars for four classes, but instead taking them online for less than $300 and essentially graduating a semester “short.” To overcome this, Bethany said to take the online classes during winter and summer break. Against all odds, I completed three classes during the one month between fall and spring semester. I have one last class to finish as soon as mid-May rolls around.

The school offered an alternative of unenrolling from UNE and enrolling again once the program is over so I can work on the online classes during the spring semester. I declined this offer because it is a terrible idea. There might be a chance I would not be accepted back into the school, and then what? I wasn’t going to take that risk.

So that brings you up to date. I’M GOING TO DISNEY!

My program starts in less than a week, and I head down to Florida in a couple of days. The adventure of a life time is just around the corner.

After I got accepted into the program, they told me my role would be attractions. This means I will be in charge of rides and customer services for shows. Just the other day I got an email about what specific attraction I will be stationed at. I am so pleased to say I was placed at Animal Kingdom’s Safari ride!

From what I have read online, I will be driving a huge truck full of people around the African plains of Disney, while dropping facts about each animal we encounter on the ride. Words cannot describe my excitement. But I am equally as nervous since the trucks are stick shift and I have only every operated a Prius.

So far I am all packed, my plane and hotel are booked, roommates picked, and goodbyes ready.

It is defiantly bitter sweet. I’m leaving a lot behind for six months. My pets, my friends, people I love, but this is the start of a new adventure I never thought I would get to take. It’s a dream come true.

This is the start of a very magical journey that I am pleased to say I will be sharing with you.